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How to Clean Upholstery With Dry-Cleaning Solvent

Updated February 21, 2019

Many furniture makers attach cleaning labels to furniture, either under the cushions or on a fabric sample tag. These labels may include a letter that indicates the cleaning method recommended for that furniture and upholstery. It is recommended that you clean upholstery labelled "W" with water-based soaps and cleaners; clean furniture labelled "WS" with either a water-based cleaner or a solvent. Furniture labelled "S" is usually rayon or silk that requires dry-cleaning solvents. Water-based cleaners may shrink these fabrics or leave a permanent water stain.

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  1. Scrape any solid dirt or matter off the upholstery with a spoon or butter knife.

  2. If a spill is fresh, blot the upholstery with paper towels or clean white cloths to remove excess liquid.

  3. Apply a small amount of dry-cleaning solvent to a white cloth, and blot the upholstery gently.

  4. Blot stains by working from the outside of the stain inward to prevent the stain from spreading.

  5. Apply a clean, dry cloth to the stain to blot up the dry-cleaning solvent.

  6. Tip

    When shopping for furniture, consider washability, especially if you have young children. Washable fabrics are easier to maintain than those requiring solvents.


    Run fans and open windows for ventilation when using dry-cleaning solvents to clean upholstery. Never use solvents, which are flammable, in rooms where there is an open flame, such as a lit fireplace, cigarettes or candles. Cleaning an entire piece of furniture with dry-cleaning solvent is dangerous. Leave extensive cleaning to a professional.

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Things You'll Need

  • Spoon or butter knife
  • Paper towel
  • Clean white cloths
  • Dry-cleaning solvent

About the Author

Julie Christensen

Julie Christensen is a food writer, caterer, and mom-chef. She's the creator of MarmaladeMom.org, dedicated to family fun and delicious food, and released a book titled "More Than Pot Roast: Fast, Fresh Slow Cooker Recipes."

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